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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Occupational Health & Safety

Comcare Conflict of Interest

Today's Date -- This is the body of the announcement ...

Occupational Health & Safety

OH&S in a sick state

The Occupational Health and Safety Act covers all employees who are under federal awards. At the Federal Level the relevant authority is Comcare. Comcare is the government regulator. 

If the employer has hazardous conditions in the workplace and fails or refuses to correct the situation you would be likely to go to the regulator right? 

You would expect to find proper conditions enforced ?

Well just consider your chances when you find out that Comcare is also the government insurer. One might be forgiven for thinking that this is a massive conflict of interest.

One might also be forgiven for thinking that justice may be in jeopardy.

There are those who set the standards for conditions in this country like say for instance Noise Levels for industrial situations. One of the largest employers of labour in this country at the moment is call centres. There are no Noise level standards for call centres in this country at present. In 2004 the OH&S Commission called for submissions for a review of industrial noise standards. I made a submission with many recommendations there is no evidence that they were ever even read that submission. The original discussion papers which were sent out remained totally unchanged. 

Call centres were ignored and I was told at a public meeting they had tried to keep me from attending, that it would take 12 years for there to be a review. THIS IS A DISGRACE. Do we have to wait for a national disaster to occur before there is any action ?  Heaven help us all.

There are lawyers and union officials who work in the area all the time. Where are they all ? Why are they doing nothing ?  

There are many journalists in this country. Why is there no crusading campaign in the media or are there no "free" journalists in this country now ? Are there none with the courage to speak out. Or are the Media owners suppressing freedom to speak out.

I have taken the first case in the Industrial Relations Commission challenging a Comcare decision. Details of that case will soon be on this website under "cases"

I note that the Financial Review carries a front page story on the Commonwealth government seeking

to get big employers like Optus to go to the Feds. The reason? It will make a smaller pool for the states to cover the risk therefore premiums in the states will go up, forcing the smaller businesses and their workers to be at the mercy of the Comcare system.

I would think that Optus would have little commitment to this country, its workers, or the states. It is my experience that they outsource their call centre work to India, I have not heard any commitment to the welfare of this country, and they are largely controlled from overseas. It is understandable if their only concern is shareholder profits. It would make me very happy if they would prove otherwise.

For there to be any hope of fair play Comcare and similar bodies MUST be reorganized and the separation of the functions of regulator and insurer.

A footnote to injustice: whilst the CEO of Telstra gets up to $7m a year the family of a worker who is killed due to the negligence of an employer will, if lucky, get a payout of $175,000 from Workers Compensation. I would make the point that it needs approximately $750,000 invested to provide a decent living income. Where is the justice in that ??????????

I make the points :

bulletNever before in history have workers been more productive
bulletNever before in history have corporate profits been so high
bulletNever before in history has there been a bull market for so long

Yet :

bulletEffective real wages are declining
bulletWorking conditions are declining
bulletWhere once 1 breadwinner was enough to keep a full family, that is no longer so
bulletAustralians are now working unpaid overtime
bulletWe have deserted the 1904 Justice Higgins Basic Wage (Harvester Award) concept that, if an employer could not provide wages which were a living wage for a family then they had no right to be an employer.

We have lost sight of the concept, and the reality, that we the people, own the economy and the state - not politicians and owners of capital.

IT IS TIME WE TOOK BACK CONTROL of our community

our society, our economy and our government.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For More Information Contact:

WhistleBlowers Assist Australia
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Tel: (61) 03 9786 5308
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Last modified: August 01, 2010

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